11 months ago

Why we can’t stop thinking about Battersea’s newest restaurant

Archway has landed in Battersea and we can’t stop thinking about it. This golden nugget is living rent free in our head. Here’s why.

Credit: @bellco.uk

Waking up the morning after Archway was a heady experience. Did that really happen? Was it a beautiful dream? Why do we feel sad? Because the previous evening was such an impressive time, it was hard to not feel the same comedown as we would post-festival. But it was worth the fluctuations in our serotonin levels: Archway is open in Battersea and we haven’t stopped thinking about it. Head chef is Alex Owens, a woman of absolute wonder (she used to work at The River Cafe and The Ledbury), who has curated a small, punchy menu of seasonal food that goes with their ever-changing, equally small and equally impressive wine list. It’s unassuming from the outside, and en route to the restaurant we were concerned that we’d taken a wrong turn along a strip of arches that run from the Battersea Power Station complex. But that journey adds to the charm when you turn the door handle and are welcomed into the most charming, elegant space. It’s little in there- there are dinky, candlelit tables and the signature archway setting means that everyone is snuggled in, but it’s cleverly done to make it feel cosy, not cramped.

Credit: @archwaybattersea

We were shown to the bigger bar table which had three couples around it’s semi circular shape. Sitting on high chairs that meant we overlooked the vast kitchen, and was fun to see such cohesive work from the chefs going on. Maybe it was because they were on display throughout the night or maybe it was because it was real, (we expect the latter) there was a proper team atmosphere going on in there. Nothing like the stereotypical nightmare setting of a kitchen that Gordon Ramsey managed to plant into everyone’s heads, this was calm and creative.

Credit: @shall.we.grab.dinner

We started the evening off with a dirty martini. As dirty martini enthusiasts we were a little nervous when our server mentioned that this was the first order of the kind that they’d had in their restaurant, but thankfully when our drinks arrived they looked exactly right. Nocellara olives (three) and very dirty (as requested), the butteriness of the Nocellara olive brine worked a treat. Ice cold, this was up there as one of the best martinis we’d ever had and we’d like to start a trend at Archway and suggest you include one of these in your pre-dinner order too.

Credit: @connoisseurchronicles

We had a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary next to us on the bar table (illustrating nicely how well this spot would do if you’re after somewhere for a special occasion) and the communal atmosphere you get from sitting up there worked nicely in our favour. We’d barely taken a peep at the menu when one of the pair leaned over and told us that the zucchini fritto misto was an absolute must order. Never ones to ignore a recommendation, we got a portion of those and one of the wood roast Atlantic prawns as our starters. The zucchini fritto misto was a huge hit. There were two flowers stuffed with a creamy ricotta, but it was the unstuffed leaves that really got our hearts racing. Salty and coated in a shatteringly crisp batter, they were delights- especially when laden with a scoop of the green smash of minty peas that they were sitting atop. The three prawns were absolute whoppers; smokey with the wood-roasted prep and as garlicky as you like, they were worth the mess of the de-shelling process.

Credit: @connoisseurchronicles

It was going to be a tough act to follow this duo of starters but the mains managed, somehow, to be every bit as good as their predecessors. The pork chop was an impressive slab of pig, sliced with the fat on to keep it moist and the pesto trapanese it was served with cut through the richness of the meat. The sole was another absolute winner; a brave move to pour a strongly spiced Cafe de Paris butter over such a delicate fish, but chef knows! Just make sure you get some roasted chunks of potato to scoop up any of the left over sauces or else you’ll be fighting the urge to pick up the plate to lick it clean which, we hear, isn’t in Debrett’s.

Credit: @connoisseurchronicles

Though we were tempted by the already famous polenta beignets, we couldn’t squeeze in any more food. However, being big believers in starting and finishing the night with martinis, we closed off with one of the espresso variety. A lovely kick with a hint of sweetness, it was the kind that you’d easily sip down in two gulps, order another, and then regret it when you’re staring at your ceiling at 3am wondering why you can’t sleep. It’s worth the insomnia.

The whole evening was orchestrated perfectly by the staff. Our server was clearly a pro, checking in at the right moments and and the food came at well timed intervals. Archway is what Battersea has been crying out for. A reliable spot where you can find some of the best food, atmosphere and service in the city, it nicely toes the line between being a special occasion place and somewhere where you might go for a dinner after work on a Wednesday when you need to perk yourself up. Go, quickly, and do yourself a favour and get in on some of that zucchini action whilst they’re on the menu.


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